We can all feel how important sleep is for our health and well-being after a night of wrestling to find a comfortable position and fall asleep, all the while sleep still escapes us. The result is usually a groggy and irritable the following day, and sickness if sleepless nights persist. On a normal basis this can be difficult for some, but finding a comfortable position and drifting off to sleep can be even more difficult during pregnancy. Aside from your growing belly, there is usually a mix of back pain, heartburn, shortness of breath, insomnia, and the constant need to use the bathroom. However, difficult does not mean impossible. Here are some of the sleeping positions that you can try to sleep better during pregnancy, some of which are actually better for your baby as well.
Your best and most comfortable position during pregnancy is on your side; more specifically, your left side. This position helps against heartburn and back pain that you may experience with a back sleeping position. Not only is this position more comfortable and helps combat pain, but specifically laying on your left side helps to increase blood flow to your uterus and increase nutrients reaching the placenta, which keeps your baby healthy.
Of course, blood flow is also highly dependent on the mattress that you are sleeping on. As your weight increases with the pregnancy, so does the stress where your body’s pressure points come in contact with the mattress. It is important, then, to have a mattress that reduces pressure point stress, which in turn reduces pain and encourages blood flow. Memory foam mattresses are usually supportive enough while also being easier on pressure points. Spend some time looking through reviews to find out what others have thought of a memory foam mattress after purchase. It’s also possible to understand exactly how these particular mattresses are constructed – and any advantages that they may possess – by reading articles such as this.
Of course, there are points where sleeping on your side isn’t enough and those troublesome pregnancy symptoms still steal your sleep from you. It can be incredibly effective if you use pillows to your advantage. Place a pillow between your legs and keep your knees bent in order to take pressure off of your hips and lower back; this should significantly reduce your back pain. If you are suffering from a lot of heartburn or even shortness of breath (usually only late in pregnancy), it can help to prop up your upper body with pillows as well.
Some find that normal pillows do the trick, while others find that they can achieve much more comfortable sleeping positions with a maternity pillow. These come in many shapes and sizes, so consult a guide or two to get an idea of what is out there and how they work. In the end, just listen to your body and try what you think will work best for you.
Positions to avoid
It’s pretty understandable that sleeping on your stomach while pregnant is to be avoided, and that comes as common sense as the growth of your abdomen simply won’t allow for it anymore, but it is also good to avoid sleeping on your back. Not only will this increase back pain, heartburn, and shortness of breath, but it also tends to cause problems with your digestive system and can cause reduced blood pressure, in turn decreasing your blood circulation through your own body and to your baby.
That being said, most of us don’t stay in one position consistently through the night. If you turn onto your back throughout the night you don’t have to be concerned that harm will come to your baby. It is merely best to try to come back into the side-sleeping position as much as possible. Usually, your body will wake you from sleep anyway when you are in a less than optimal position.